GUWAHATI, April 23 � A 34-member team of tea buyers from Gujarat, led by the Ahmedabad Tea Merchants� Association, has arrived in the State on a seven-day visit since April 20.
The team will visit the tea plantation, tea factories and interact with the stakeholders to know the process of tea production.
This team will try to understand the tea industry and the process of making quality tea from the buyers� point of view.
During the visit, the team members comprising packeteers, retailers, semi-wholesalers, wholesalers, auction buyers and commission agents, will visit some of the tea estates of Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).
They have already visited some of the tea estates of Jorhat district, Tocklai Experimental Station and a tea estate in Karbi Anglong district and a bought leaf factory in Golaghat district.
The visit has been described by the tea industry sources here as an important event in the history of the State�s tea industry. For Gujarat is known for the quality tea it procures. Gujarat has been procuring, on an average, 60 per cent of the good quality tea sold in the GTAC.
It procures around 50 million kilograms (kgs) of Assam tea in a year and this constitutes around 12 per cent of the total tea produced in the Brahmaputra Valley of the State in a year. This western State has emerged as the third highest tea consuming State of the country and it has recorded a per capita consumption of 1.4 kgs, against the national average of 750 grams, said the sources.
According to tea industry sources, the Gujarat traders took part in an interactive meeting with the 60 tea producers and sellers belonging to Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts yesterday at the Golaghat office of the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA).
It needs mention here that the tea produced in Golaghat district is considered to be the best in the world. The district, along with its adjacent Jorhat and Karbi Anglong districts, is endowed with a good climatic and soil condition. There is a saying that one can�t make bad tea in the Golaghat belt.
Actively taking part in the interactive meet, president of the Ahmedabad Tea Merchants� Association HP Agarwal, its secretary Tejal Shah, advisor Ashok Relia and other members said that they were amazed to see tea plantations in a difficult terrain of Karbi Anglong and the amount of hard work put by the tea planters to manufacture quality tea.
The seller members of the NETA tried to impress upon the Gujarat buyers that the bought leaf factories also produce equally good tea at par with the estate factories and there should not be any misgiving that the bought leaf factories produce bad tea. The buyers should not be guided by a pre-conceived idea about the quality of the tea at the time of making the buying bids, the NETA seller members said.
NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty, who presided over the Golaghat interactive session, described the day as a red letter day for tea trade in Assam and the State�s tea industry as a whole.
HP Agarwal told this newspaper that the members of the team, which has been visiting the State, have found Golaghat and Karbi Anglong tea very interesting. For, the tea planters here have been putting on a lot of hard work to produce quality tea despite their plantations and factories being located at interior places.
The visitors from Gujarat will also visit tea brokers firm J Thomas located in Guwahati and will take part in an interaction with the stakeholders of the GTAC. They will also visit the tea warehouses located in the city, said the sources.